Among the current practitioners of death-laden doom metal, you’ll be hard-pressed to find two more catastrophic practitioners of the art than Finland’s Hooded Menace and Horse Latitudes. In January 2012, Doomentia Records released a 12″ vinyl split by the two bands, with each one contributing a song. Since January, Doomentia has gone through two limited pressings of 500 copies, and both are sold out, though it appears that copies may still be available through the bands’ online shops — Hooded Menace here and Horse Latitudes here.
Fortunately, you don’t have to scrounge around for one of the remaining copies of the vinyl edition to hear the music, because Doomentia has recently made the split available for streaming and digital download on Bandcamp.
As we previously reported, Hooded Menace also have a new album on the way via Relapse Records by the name of Effigies of Evil. It will be released on September 11 and can be pre-ordered in a variety of formats and bundles here. Today, Noisecreep premiered that album’s title track, which I strongly recommend you check out at this location.
But the main purpose of this post is to review and recommend the Hooded Menace / Horse Latitudes split. Though it consists of only two songs, it’s almost 19 minutes of music, because both songs are long-format offerings. Both songs are also lessons in how to make slow, extended, completely gut-crunching music without sending listeners into a coma.
The Hooded Menace track is named “Instruments of Eternal Damnation”. The beginning of the song is excruciatingly bleak, the riffs moaning and ponderous, the distortion levels in the red zone, the cavernous, reverberating vocals hollow and hungry. But then comes the point shortly after the two-minute mark when the song transforms into something really memorable, as the lead guitar begins to spin out a rising melody. The bone-breaking riffs and voracious vocals come back soon, but that little melody returns, too. Made me throw back my head and close my eyes.
In the song’s mid-section, the lead guitar executes a variation on the song’s opening melodic themes and follows it with a reverberating solo over a new low-end riff. The interplay between the guitars and bass in this variant segment is almost progressive in its feel, though the music remains black as night and immensely heavy. And speaking of heavy, the funereal drumming is utterly crushing.
Ah yes, that sublime little melody comes back one more time just before the devastating finish. Damn, this really is one fine song.
The Horse Latitude track is “Flame of Will”, and it’s one of the heaviest you’ll hear all year. The MIDI-style drone and choral vocals with which it begins soon leads into the brutal, methodical crash and crush of fuzzed-out reverberating chords — even slower and more dirge-like than the Hooded Menace song. At about the 3:00 mark, following this extended intro, the drumming and riffing increase in speed and the mid-range roaring vocals make an appearance — but the aura of the music remains thick, dank, and utterly soul-sucking.
This part of the song turns out to be a real head-nodder, and it’s followed by a segment that’s more melodic, and by “melodic” I mean fucking pestilent and hopeless. The brutally crushing riffs from the intro come back, as if a craggy indigo giant has just shoved his way through the wall of your abode for an uninvited return visit, and the choral vocals and MIDI synthetics also make their return at the finish.
“Flame of Will” may not have the hooks that pop up in “Instruments of Eternal Damnation”, but it’s nonetheless riveting — a massive, primitive edifice of jagged stone and occult atmosphere that lingers ominously in the mind’s eye.
You can find Horse Latitudes on Facebook here, and the band’s other releases can be streamed at their Bandcamp page. Hooded Menace also have a Bandcamp page here, and this is the link to the Hooded Menace FB page.
This is the music, which you can download, courtesy of Doomentia, at this location: